Planning Ahead: Hunting Pack Essentials

This incredible buck was taken in Eastern NC by Robert Norton

This incredible buck was taken in Eastern NC by Robert Norton

With hunting season finally here there are thousands of hunters hitting the woods this weekend. If not this weekend, then you will be soon enough. While we usually associate cooler weather and deer hunting, the early seasons are typically anything but cool. Warm afternoon temps can make you feel as if you are sitting in an oven, not a tree. To top it off, every year an untold amount of deer escape unscathed due to the fact hunters occasionally venture into the field unprepared. Here are a few things to keep in mind this year.

Long sleeves: As mentioned above, mid to late afternoon temperatures may cause profuse sweating, but once the sun dips down below the horizon, temps can drop pretty quickly. If you manage to get a few deer and maybe a buck within range you will end up shivering and shaking in a stand you were sweating in an hour earlier. Be sure to throw a lightweight Mossy Oak camo long sleeve shirt in your pack before heading out.

Thermacell: A thermacell is a device that is undetectable by most wildlife species and is absolutely fantastic about keeping away gnats, flies, mosquitoes and anything else that bites you. If you leave it at camp without it, you’ll be missing it about 5 minutes into your hunt. Be sure to stuff it into your pack. If you don’t own one, go buy one. It’s the best $30 you’ll spend. Trust me.

Facemask: Gun hunters rarely use a facemask but even in elevated positions, but a deer in close proximity can easily bust you. Use face paint if you’d like. Just be sure to do something to break up the outline of your face.

Shooting Gear: More hunters have forgotten about grabbing their ammo before hunting than they would like to admit. The only thing more common than forgetting to bring ammo is forgetting an archery release. Stuff an extra one in your pack. They only weight a few ounces and while you may never forget your primary one, if you ever do you’ll be thankful for planning ahead.

Flashlight: There is nothing worse than having no light source when leaving the woods or trying to follow a blood trail. It’s also unsafe. While most smart phones have flashlight capabilities, they aren’t much help for getting out the woods or finding a speck of blood on the forest floor. Even a cheap light can be a lifesaver and they are relatively inexpensive and lightweight.

Scent Spray: The debate continues about what spray is the best at reducing human scent…if they even work at all. Playing the wind is always your best bet and even the dumbest deer in the county can detect you if they’re downwind from you. While they are not foolproof, you have nothing to lose by spending $10 and spraying down your gear. When you consider all the time and money spent it takes to get in the deer woods, don’t let a few dollars cost you big. Grab a bottle at Wal Mart and try it out.

Andrew Walters

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